Conference to Address Challenges Facing Potato Growers
12 February 2007
The National Potato Conference and Trade Show 2007 will take place on Wednesday, 14 February at the Glenroyal Hotel, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. This year’s conference will be officially opened by Mary Coughlan TD, Minister for Agriculture and Food and will take place against a challenging time for potato growers.
The conference, jointly organised by the Irish Farmers Association and Teagasc, promises to stimulate discussion on a range of issues affecting growers. Tom Kennedy and Finbarr Horgan from Teagasc Crops Research Centre, Oak Park, will address the problem of insect and nematode pests of potatoes in Ireland.
William Monagle, chairman of the IFA National Potato Committee said: “This year’s potato conference is timely as a number of pressing issues for the sector need to be addressed. They include the impact of EU reform and the upgrading of the growers register.”
At the conference, Teagasc tillage specialist, Michael Hennessy, will outline the steps necessary for growers to meet the cross compliance regulations and the restrictions under the Nitrates Directive. Michael Hennessy said: “The nitrates regulations will present a significant challenge for growers but with good forward planning, potatoes can continue to be a profitable crop on farms. Teagasc advisors are in a good position to help potato growers draw up a total farm nutrient plan for the coming year, within the nitrates rules, which will be essential for continued profitability.”
Mark Ballingall, of the Scottish Agricultural College, will address the conference on the science behind applying nutrients to grow potatoes successfully. Mark will address areas such as micronutrients and foliar feeds to the growing crop. Representatives from Bord Bia will outline the organisation’s plans to improve the marketing and promotion of potatoes to the consumer.
All conference delegates will have an opportunity to meet and further discuss issues with many of the major seed, agrochemical, machinery and storage companies working with Irish growers today.
Further details of the National Potato Conference, which takes place from 1.30pm to 5.00pm on Wednesday, 14 February are available from IFA or Teagasc.